Dominica Studen Association in Trinidad and Tobago-homeless in UWI
Posted in the Dominica Forum
Trinidad and Tobago
#1 May 1, 2006
Saturday, April 29, 2006
It pains me to inform you of the plight of regional and international students in Trinidad and Tobago brought on by the lack of respect shown to us by the administration of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. We have been facing a very difficult situation for the past two weeks which led to a silent protest on Thursday 27th April, 2006.
Students living on the various halls of residence on campus are being literally forced to become homeless for the next school year due to new regulations by the University's administration. From as early as February 2006, students who reside on the Halls of Residence (Milner Hall, Canada Hall, Trinity Hall and Joyce Gibson Inniss Hall) who wished to return to said halls for the upcoming academic school year were asked to download print and fill out application forms indicating our desire to do so. The forms were to be brought in to our respective Hall Supervisors no later than March 15. To date, the administration has provided no formal means of communication indicating whether or not applicants were successful.
It was only until mid-April when students started to speculate, that our respective Hall Chairs sought a response from the administration, to be told that absolutely no one, save for the present hall committee members of some 11-13 persons would be allowed to return. Currently, each Hall houses some 150 - 200 students.
It is now exam time and it is very difficult for us to seek alternative accommodation. Students are allowed only one week to remain on the halls of residence after exams have ended. The majority of the suitable apartments are filled to capacity since reservations were made from as early as last semester. Rent for off-campus housing has also been raised by at least 40% as of Friday, April 28th, 2006, which applies to returning as well as new residents. Note that this is not illegal given the fact that the private property act has recently expired.
The university is literally throwing us to the wolves. The crime rate in Trinidad and more specifically in and around campus has escalated. As recent as this week, students were being held at gunpoint and robbed of their personal belongings while studying. As early as 5pm, students are attacked around the campus. The most recent incident involving robbery at an off campus apartment was last night- Friday, 28th April. THIS PLACE IS NOT SAFE! Our best bet is living on campus- on the halls of residence.
To add insult to injury, we were refused a meeting with the campus vice principal, Prof. Gurmohan Kochhar, who is responsible for accommodation issues of students. Consequently we were forced to resort to a meeting with the campus principal, Dr. Bhoendradatt Tewarie. After much debate, pleading and literally crying by our hall chairpersons, only a minute quota of returning regional students were allowed to return to halls on a selection basis. Not only that, but the university has refused to provide storage facilities for foreign students even if we were willing to pay for such. In response to the request for storage it was asked,�Don�t you guys have friends?�
This is very unacceptable, inconsiderate, and a blatant disregard to foreign students especially those from other CARICOM countries and Botswana. Be reminded that no formal notice was disseminated to students to vacate the halls who are still somewhat in limbo at this critical time in our academic year- end of year examinations. THE UNNECESSARY STRESS IS NOT WARRANTED!!!!!!!
Does this mean that we will be forced to go part time, or become homeless and/or discontinue our education at UWI, St.Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago? Is this the type of treatment fit for the top 10% of the region�s students? Is it any wonder that we suffer from severe brain drain in the Caribbean Region?
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